Jay Z, born Shawn Corey Carter in New York City, is a famed American rapper, entrepreneur, producer, author, and songwriter. With an estimated net worth of $1 billion, he is the wealthiest American musician, and the 5th wealthiest African American.
Beginning his hip-hop career in 1995, Shawn Corey came up with Notorious BIG and Busta Rhymes. Gaining popularity after freestyling on Yo! MTV Raps with mentor Jaz-O. Jay Z’s MC style pays dues to influences of Jay-O, frequently using “triplet rhyme” lyricism. His early era lyrics related to a rough upbringing at the Marcy Houses projects in the Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York, selling crack, and getting shot three times.
A few years after getting his music career going, in 1999, Jay Z faced an assault charge from an incident at a club, to which he addresses in his 2010 book Decoded: “There was no reason to put my life on the line, and the lives of everyone who depends on me, because of a momentary loss of control….. I vowed to never allow myself to be in a situation like that again”.
Throughout his career, he has relied on personal experience as inspiration. His later albums are written in response to a middle-aged life, covering broader topics like Hurricane Katrina, Barack Obama’s 2008 election, and marriage to powerhouse Beyonce Knowles.
While a well-known rapper, Jay Z has been an entrepreneur since the beginning. When no record label would sign him in ‘95, he launched Roc-A-Fella Records, and continued to hustle through stocks, clothing lines, sports management, alcohol brands, a string of clubs, and other lifestyle brands.
Now a family man, Shawn Corey and Beyonce have a pair of beautiful twins and continue to be the entertainment power-couple.
Jay Z’s Black Moments:
- Awarded 244 International music awards and 400 nominations
- 22 Grammy Awards with 77 nominations
- First rapper honored in the Songwriters Hall of Fame
- First hip-hop billionaire
- 5th wealthiest African-American and the wealthiest American musician
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